How to earn money with a laser engraver?

Personalised products can create significant added value for customers, meaning higher prices can be achieved. Using a laser engraving machine, a wide range of products can be personalised with graphics, logos and lettering. This allows you to create unique pieces that increase the value of the original products value many times over, creating a higher profit for your business.

What price can you charge for laser-engraved items?

End consumers are generally willing to pay higher prices for products with a personal touch. The price for items with a unique laser engraving is therefore often determined by the price per product achievable on the market. It is common for end customers to pay 5 to 10 times the standard product price for personalisation.

Application example: Laser-engraved ballpoint pen with surcharge for laser engraving

An example application is high quality ballpoint pens with a personalised laser engraving. These are usually sold for around £15, but can be purchased for as little as £1.50 depending on their quality. Within the laser industry, costs are usually calculated at £1 per minute to cover the laser processing time. There are a number of factors affecting laser cost, including different graphics and the length of time the laser engraving process takes. These can be quickly quantified in terms of costs. 

In this example a ballpoint pen costs 25p per piece and the laser cost is 15 seconds for the laser engraving process. When taking labour costs into consideration, it is very easy to see that you can make good money with personalising products. 

Laser engraving a ballpoint pen: 1 unit
Purchase price of a ballpoint pen: £1.50
Engraving duration for 1 unit: 15 seconds
Engraving costs (£1/min): £0.25
Labour costs (£40/hour): £0.11
Retail price with engraving per order at 1 unit: £15
Profit per unit: £13.14/unit
Laser engraving ballpoint pens: 150 units
Purchase price of 150 ballpoint pens: £225
Engraving duration for 150 units: 15 min
Engraving costs for 150 units (£1/min): £15
Labour costs (£40/hour) £10
Retail price with engraving per order at 150 units: £2,250
Profit per order at 150 units: £2,000/order at 150 units

Which laser-engraved products are most in demand?

Personalised products are gaining in popularity, and the scope for this is wide with many different materials suitable. Common personalised products include wine glasses, gifts and ballpoint pens. However, other items such as stamps, signage, medals and trophies and even contract engraving are becoming lucrative businesses for companies, whether as individual pieces or series production.

Trophy with personal dedication

Champagne glasses with name

Laser-engraved door signs

Personalised picture frames

Unique items for customers create higher profits for the supplier

Unique, individual and personal - nowadays, customers are placing greater value on the qualitative and quantitative value of handicraft work and prefer creative individual items. For example, individually designed jewellery, creative artwork or decorative accessories for interior design are among the most popular customer requests. Practically any design can be implemented using a laser engraving machine. With individuality and attention to detail, products or artwork can be easily and quickly created and upgraded using a laser machine. From wood, glass, acrylic to leather and paper, contactless material processing with a laser machine also saves time and money. Thes unique items can be easily created. Due to the high prices that can be achieved for creative individual pieces, the profit is very handsome.

Laser-engraved violin

Laser-cut wooden lamp

Laser-cut image on paper

Customised leather book

Laser technology - Making personalisation efficient for high-volume production

It’s not just the personalisation of individual items or small batches that can be implemented cost-effectively with a laser machine. Larger orders of personalised products can also be economically produced using a laser machine, so even more money can be earned. Templates or jigs are an extremely useful tool for processing larger orders, allowing you to engrave multiple pieces in one job, thus saving time. The output is maximised when the template is adapted to the work area of the laser machine.

We will illustrate this using the example of a ballpoint pen. Laser engraving a single pen takes approx. 15 seconds. Engraving 150 ballpoint pens using one template over the entire work area takes approx. 15 minutes. All of the ballpoint pens are laser engraved in a single job. Time-consuming handling and reloading of pens is eliminated. Click here to find out how to easily create the right template for your workpieces:

Create templates

Profitable product mix: Specialisation versus wide product portfolio

A variety of materials can be processed with a laser allowing a range of customer applications to be processed. When starting a company, a broad product portfolio is an excellent way to test various products and see which are popular with customers. Offering a specialised range of products or a broad range is a strategic decision for any business. The competitive market sector will play a significant role in this decision: Are you the sole provider of laser services? Or is there already a specialist for example glass engraving or wedding decorations around the corner?
As an entrepreneur, you should carefully consider your business model and weigh the advantages and disadvantages for yourself.

In terms of specialisation, the workload and output can be optimised as best as possible, as the applications are always similar and you develop into a true specialist. Thus, set-up times will be minimised while maximising profit. From a broad product portfolio through to individual customer projects and individual pieces, however, although you’re not a specialist in a certain area, customers for custom-made items are willing to pay more, which in turn leads to higher margins.

Check out the Speedy laser engraver series

The Speedy laser engraving and cutting systems are the perfect choice for first-time users and established users alike. All platform sizes from 610 × 305 mm to 1016 × 610 mm are available with a CO₂ laser, a fiber laser or also both laser sources in a single laser system. The patented flexx technology™ allows endless applications.

Find out more about Speedy series laser engraving machines

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